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Arsenal will sign 16-year-old Joel Lopez full-back from Barcelona this summer, according to local reports.
Mundo Deportivo report that the youngster will become a Gunner this summer, as one of two ‘confirmed’ casualties for La Masia. The other is Pablo Moreno, a forward joining Juventus.
We first reported on Arsenal’s interest in Lopez back in March. At the time he was just 15 years old and under contract, but now he’s 16 and his deal with Barcelona is coming to an end.
Lopez is a pacey left-back who loves to get forward, leading to comparisons with Hector Bellerin on the opposite side of the field.
Liverpool also showed an interest in Lopez, but it appears Arsenal have managed to edge them out and win the race for the defender.
Barcelona tried to get Lopez to sign a deal with them that would see him remain with the club, but Lopez informed the Catalan giants he would be leaving for Arsenal, according to a report in Sport and RAC1 a few weeks ago.
Raul Sanllehi’s influence seemingly played a big part in Arsenal sealing the deal, after he joined from Barcelona this year. Hopefully the club will announce the transfer officially in the near future.
As a brief side note, there’s been a lot of confusion online about Lopez’s age. A number of publications like Goal and Metro report that he’s 15, and specifically make reference to how that means he’ll have to sign schoolboy terms until he turns 16 in March 2019. However, other publications like talkSPORT say he’s already 16.
We did some digging, and an article from a few years ago on Barcelona’s official club website lists his date of birth as 31st March 2002, making him 16. We’ll just have to assume that’s correct until we find out otherwise.